Not The Usual Boracay Trip
Last May 16-19, I had the privilege of going to Boracay with FREE airfare and accommodations for 2 nights at the Boracay Regency Lagoon with 5 friends c/o my friend Andrew winning a Cebu Pacific contest for a video he made of our trip to Cagayan de Oro. Yay! :)
As soon as we got out of the airport, Boracay Regency Lagoon staff greeted us to shuttle us from the airport to their exclusive port. As in, exclusive. And you have to hand it to Boracay Regency Lagoon. They really know how to make you feel like a rockstar, ferrying guests from Caticlan to Boracay on a super swanky speedboat!
[Below picture is of me and Karlo on our way BACK from Boracay because apparently I didn’t take pictures of our group on the way to Boracay. Actually, it seems I have ZERO group pictures. What up. Classic case of relying on other people for pictures.]
This is a picture of the only other people on the boat. Boracay Regency Lagoon crew, basically, to man the boat and carry our things. We had the boat all to ourselves! Kulang nalang ilabas nila yung champagne at caviar.
So yeah. That was the sosi-est thing in my life ever. And I savored every moment because it is not likely that I will experience this again. Unless a good friend / I win another competition, or the lotto, or if some company gives me this treatment in exchange for an article / design or something. Haha. Otherwise, I don’t think I could ever bring myself to pay for such a service. (Read: Kuripot si Jen.)
We had a pretty much chillax stay. And believe it or not, I never went on a NIGHT OUT night out. Haha. Karlo got sick during our trip, so that contributed to that, but really, it was nice to just stay in in our comfortable, airconditioned hotel room after dinner. :D
[Photos from Boracay Regency Lagoon because LOL I didn’t take photos. But their photos are accurate :D]
We stayed in their Deluxe Room, which was good for three people.
I’ll be living in a lot of budget accommodations in my upcoming trips, so it was nice to have this for now. :)
They also had an inviting pool area:
Complete with lounge chairs half-submerged in the water. Excellent for lazing around on a hot day. :)
Yoga by the beach
I also took it upon myself to explore yoga on the island and found out about True Yoga through a Boracay-based friend.
Bulabog Beach: The other side of the island
Thanks to Louise, my friend Louie and I were also able to briefly explore Bulabog beach, which is basically a mecca for kiteboarders during the amihan season. I’d been wanting to explore this side of the island, and was so pleased that a local took us there! There weren’t any kiteboarders at the time though, but it was nice to see a different side of Boracay. :) It’s also so much closer to the more popular side of Boracay than one might think.
Also got to meet and briefly hang out with Ian Bautista and Djila Winebrenner, owners of The Lazy Dog Bed & Breakfast, also on Bulabog.
I found out about Lazy Dog a couple of years back (via Facebook), was charmed by the whole vibe of the place, and been meaning to book a stay there on a trip to Boracay. Alas, our group was already booked elsewhere.
My Boracay Must-Eat
Also just had to get my favorite Boracay treat (from 2 years back). Not chori burgers (since I’m trying to be vegetarian now), or Jonas shakes (though I did have one), but Tibraz’s Butter and Muscovado Crepe (P100).
I generally like crepes (Cafe Breton-style — and believe me, this is Cafe Breton style, from the chewiness of the crepe to the plating). And I generally like “simple” food where individual ingredients’ flavors can come out. And I LOVE muscovado. So it’s only natural that I LOVE this treat too.
Cebu PAK! - from Caticlan to Kalibo
No, no, no. Not by plane, but by van. And not by choice either.
When Karlo and I arrived at the Caticlan airport to check in for our flight back to Manila. We found that our flight had been cancelled.
Wow. Good job, Cebu Pacific. Thanks for the heads up. You could have at least informed your passengers beforehand. I asked the ground staff for the reason behind the cancellation, and they simply said that the plane had some delay and that there would have been some air traffic congestion or that they wouldn’t be able to land the plane at Caticlan anymore. I don’t know much about aviation or air traffic control, so that sounded like a load of crap to me. So if anyone reading this has a better explanation, by all means, please enlighten me.
A lot of passengers, both local and foreign alike were inconvenienced by this because we had to take a 1 hour and 40 minute van ride to Kalibo. When a foreign traveler asked the ground staff if Cebu Pacific would be providing any compensation for this inconvenience, all they could offer was a ride to Kalibo. That, in my opinion, is not compensation at all, but a mandatory service for the inconvenience. They should have at least offered a partial rebate or a free meal on board or the option to rebook a preferred flight.
They got lucky because most of the passengers were relatively good-natured and no one went all Claudine Barretto on them.
I take the experience lightheartedly because I didn’t have any connecting flights or dinner scheduled upon my return to Manila. And am actually happy because we got to chat with a German traveler because of the cancellation.
But I am still NOT happy about the cancellation at all, and how casually Cebu Pacific dealt with the cancelled flight. I am doubly disappointed because the inconvenience experienced by foreign travelers will most likely surface in their travel stories back home. And I can only hope that the rest of the experience makes up for this gross inconvenience. And that their friends and family still be inclined to travel to the Philippines.
Til the next trip,
Travel plans (or a semblance thereof) for the rest of the year
Last March 28, I booked a one-way ticket coming back to Manila from Bacolod for Masskara.
Last April 16, I booked a one-way ticket from Manila to Siem Reap on July 1, for an intended 2-3-month trip around SEA.
When I shared this with my friend Kitty, she let out an intense: “Bakit ba ang hilig mo mag-book ng one-way?" (Why are you so fond of booking one-way tickets?)
I like stories that allow for reflection.
I like movies that let the viewer add a bit of his/her own interpretation to the ending.
I like having my options open.
I like hoping and waiting for better fare prices.
In other words, I HATE TRAVEL PLANNING.
So if friends plan trips and it’s more or less within my means, I’m there! But it’s usually a struggle to get travel plans jumpstarted on my own. :P I wish I could just get up and go somewhere, but Ms. Logistics is a bitch.
But anyway, last May 2, during a Cebu Pacific sale, I finally pretty much finalized all my plane-reliant trips for the rest of the year, or the start and end points of them at least (I found out the other day, thanks to Lois, that I might have to book additional flights to get to certain SEA countries that I thought I could travel to overland…meh).
This is relevant content for this blog, but somehow I felt a bit shy to post earlier because I didn’t want to look like I was gloating, when in fact, I’m feeling scared (mostly because of the pending credit card charges and the money I have to earn / save up for my upcoming travels, among other things).
So here’s the drilly yo:
- 05/16-05/19 : MNL-Boracay-MNL (4 days)
— c/o a prize my friend Andrew won! Free Cebu Pacific airfare + 2 nights at Regency. :)
- 07/01-09/15 : MNL-Cambodia-Thailand-Laos/Myanmar-Sri Lanka-KL-MNL (2.5 months)
— Gah this is happening! I just booked the Cebu Pacific KL-MNL flight thinking I’d book an AirAsia flight from Myanmar-KL and KL-Sri Lanka-KL, but I haven’t booked that yet because I couldn’t decide, and based on findings from Lois, I’ll have to book even more AirAsia flights than I thought.
- 10/14-10/23 : MNL-Dumaguete-Bacolod-MNL (10 days)
— Didn’t book Dumaguete when I booked Bacolod because I couldn’t find good-ish rates then, but I kinda knew I wanted to come from Dumaguete. So there.
- 10/25-11/05 : MNL-KL-India-KL-MNL (12 days)
— Okay, this was unplanned, and I’m probably really pushing my travel budget and may be ridiculously broke (but hopefully not in debt) by this time. But my friend Jane had planned a trip. And that makes me weak. And hey, what are you going to do with savings if you’re dead, right? But seriously, I hope I’ll have at least 2 months’ worth of money to live off after this.
The not-a-planner planner,
Just booked my ticket to Siem Reap in July
This is happening.
I haven’t divulged details about my upcoming travel plans here largely because I have NO concrete plans on my trip yet.
But the one way ticket has been booked.
Still trying to decide when and from which country I should embark on my return flight to Manila.
Oh, how I dislike planning.
But it is a necessary evil for frugal travelers.
Sighs & palpitations,
Am I Ready for Extended Solo Travel?
I spent a good part of yesterday looking and trying to book flights during Cebu Pacific’s seat sale. Though it still didn’t come out as cheap as my trips to Japan and Coron, Palawan last year, I think it was a pretty decent seat sale compared to their other “seat sales” as of late.
Travel dates were perfect as they ran through January to mid-March 2012. I think this is the best time to travel (and November, in tropical regions, but this is not an option for me this year since I still have to attend to the business…though I did sneak in a 4-day trip to Singapore to watch The National).
I decided I wanted to book a trip with some friends, and then a trip alone.
So after finally settling on a location and date with some friends, and after the kilobyte battle to book the flight, it was settled. I’m going to Cagayan de Oro with Karlo, Bea & Andrew on January 19-23. Not too exotic, I know.
But I had planned on having Karlo/Bea take home my extra luggage from Cagayan de Oro upon our return to Manila, then I’d take a connecting flight to Catarman, then book a flight back to Manila from Calbayog 5 days later. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the promo fare was gone after I had resolved myself to this decision.
I think some part of me was also really hesitant to:
1) Go to a relatively much less popular destination (as compared to pop tourist places like Cebu, Davao, Bacolod, CDO, Boracay, Palawan or even Laoag or Sagada)
2) Go alone
3) Go right after another trip and thus be: a) Unable to attend to the business, and b) Away from the comforts of home and basically anything familiar for 10 days straight
I just realized in booking the flights that it’s not just the people around me (i.e. Nica/future PdP local management team) that I have to prepare for my departure, but myself. I think I was almost relieved when I had run out of the supposed connecting Catarman flight from my Cagayan de Oro return.
But I’ll get there by 2013.
I just need to make money.
And find couches to surf on.
Spent a bit of time updating my couchsurfing profile yesterday. :P